• Theodore J. Smetak
  • Shareholder
  • Arthur Chapman Kettering Smetak & Pikala, P.A.
vCard Print Arthur Chapman Kettering Smetak & Pikala, P.A.

Ted has been practicing in the area of insurance law for over 30 years. In that time, he has developed a solid reputation as the authoritative figure regarding all issues related to insurance coverage. Ted’s knowledge and experience encompasses an awareness of every aspect of insurance law and surpasses typical expectations of an attorney. Like many, he covers the foundational elements of insurance coverage, including claims handling and representation of insurance companies and self-insured entities in disputes, but Ted is also uniquely qualified to write and develop insurance policies. In addition, he has that rare and special ability, as well as interest, in training and teaching claim representatives and insurance companies about the intricacies and complicating factors involved with insurance law when commencing or conducting an operation in Minnesota.

Ted is a meticulous woodworking craftsman who brings his conscientious, creative, and capable talents to the practice of insurance law. Ted’s fastidious attention to detail and his desire to learn all that he can about his craft, whether applied to the creation of a scratch built sea kayak, the development of an insurance policy, or an innovative resolution for a dispute, has earned him a reputation throughout the nation as an authority on insurance law in Minnesota.

Ted acts as a consultant to insurance companies in many capacities, including occasionally sitting on their board of directors. Self-insured entities also request Ted’s assistance in developing their programs and representing them. For these self-insureds, the challenge often involves the need to teach or explain Minnesota law, which usually substitutes for more extensive policy language. Over the years, bad faith has been a logical extension of his insurance practice as well.

Ted has taught insurance law in law schools and has taught an even wider range of insurance practice and litigation subjects for virtually every legal and professional continuing education institution in the state. He is the author/co-author of seven insurance law books, including Minnesota Motor Vehicle Manual, the primary authority of motor vehicle insurance laws in Minnesota. Ted is also frequently called upon to act as a mediator and arbitrator in insurance disputes, chosen by both opposing parties due to his extensive knowledge of and competency in the practice of insurance law.


Minnesota Commercial General Liability Policy: Annotated, Co-Author, Arthur, Chapman, Kettering, Smetak & Pikala, P.A., 2008
Miller-Shugart/Drake v. Ryan Settlement Devices, Arthur, Chapman, Kettering, Smetak & Pikala, P.A., 2001 (2007 Update)
Minnesota’s Rules for Determining the Obligation of Multiple CGL Insurers for Construction Defect Claims, (Contributing Author), Arthur, Chapman, Kettering, Smetak & Pikala, P.A., October, 2006
The Wooddale Formula: Allocating Indemnity and Defense Costs for Construction Defect Claims - Wooddale Builders v. Maryland Casualty, et al., Insurance Coverage and Construction Law Bulletin, Arthur, Chapman, Kettering, Smetak & Pikala, P.A., October, 2006
CGL Coverage for Property Damage Claims: Minnesota’s Treatment of Business Risk Exclusions, (Contributing Author), Construction Law and Litigation Desk Book, Arthur, Chapman, Kettering, Smetak & Pikala, P.A, 2006


University of Minnesota Law School, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1975, J.D. (Honors: cum laude)
St Cloud State University, Saint Cloud, Minnesota, 1970, B.A.

Bar Admissions

Minnesota, 1969
Wisconsin, 1983
North Dakota, 1999
Michigan, 2004
U.S. District Court District of Minnesota, 1969
U.S. District Court Eastern District of Wisconsin, 1988
U.S. District Court Western District of Wisconsin, 1987
U.S. District Court District of North Dakota, 1999
U.S. Supreme Court, 1974


Qualified ADR Neutral

Professional Associations and Memberships

Minnesota Defense Lawyers Association, Past President and Board Member Minnesota State Bar Association
Hennepin County Bar Association
Wisconsin State Bar Association
Defense Research Institute
Minnesota Defense Lawyers Association, Board of Directors
American Arbitration Association of Panel Arbitrators
Creative Dispute Resolution, Inc., Founding Member and First President